May 20, 2007

What if they Held an Internet Crash and Nobody Came?

Late last Friday night, there was a nationwide Internet crash. The entire Internet. Or so the folks at Time Warner Cable technical support would have us believe. I was up late that night, and had the computer on. Sometime between midnight and 12:30 am Pacific time, my Internet connection went down. After having no luck resetting the modem and the wireless router, I called my Internet Service Provider, Time Warner Cable. After waiting on hold for nearly thirty minutes, the tech support person got on the line. I told her the problem, and she said that there had been a nationwide Internet outage a few minutes earlier. She said that the outage "affects all companies" providing Internet service, and that her office was being barraged by phone calls. I hung up the phone, in mild shock.

My first thought was, terrorist cyber attack. So I immediately switched on the tv news networks. Nothing. Then I took a deep breath and started to think about this critically: (1) If the Internet had gone down nationwide, this would be all over the news networks within a few minutes. (2) How on Earth would the Time Warner tech support person know whether other ISPs were affected? (3) Why would other ISPs be affected? Each ISP has its own set of wires and servers. (4) If there was indeed a nationwide Internet outage, why would it stop at the border? It is, after all, the World Wide Web. I started to become suspicious, and decided to call again.

On the next call, I received the same message from a different Time Warner rep. This time, she added that, apparently, there was "a satellite problem." Ok, that makes suspicious item number (5): What on Earth do satellites have to do with the Internet, which is a set of wires, servers, and other terrestrial physical elements connecting a bunch of computers?

I never did see a thing about this on the news. Due to the hour, most people have no idea it even happened. So, was there really a nationwide Internet crash last Friday night? Is it being covered up as part of a grand conspiracy? Or is this the single most creative excuse in the history of corporate ass-covering?


At 6:52 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

Probably the latter. Most people would hear that and just go to bed. You are one of the few inquiring minds out there.

It did make me stop to wonder what it would take to bring the entire Internet down. Is there a single point of failure?

At 11:42 AM, Blogger media concepts said...

I suppose a virus could be introduced somewhere, and made to spread like wildfire. Would others really just go to sleep if they learned that this had happened? I think I have identified a single point of failure -- my ISP. Their service went down again last night for 4 hours. At least they didn't give me the nationwide outage excuse again.

At 6:22 PM, Blogger Aileen said...

Well...I'd be one of the ones that would just go to sleep if I heard that happened. Probably because it wouldn't necessarily occur to me that it's terrorist related. I would just assume something technical that I don't understand had happened and that it would somehow resolve itself.

Barbara is right- your inquiring mind is rare.

At 6:43 PM, Blogger media concepts said...

Hmm, you mean that not everyone would also hear about a building that may be going up next door, and research the status of local government construction approvals either? I guess I do have an inquiring mind ...


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